Friday on FNC's "Tucker Carlson Tonight," NYU professor emeritus of Russian studies Stephen Cohen recalled the Steele dossier and considered the current concerns about investigating corruption in Ukraine to ponder the question: "Why... they set out to destroy Trump as a candidate in 2016, and then as a President."
"After all, other American Presidents had pursued cooperation with Russia. What was it about Trump that determined them to destroy him?" he wondered.
"Because I study the Soviet Union as a profession. I asked myself, did the Russian secret police, the KGB, run its own operations against Soviet leaders who pursued policies they didn't like? And the answer is yes. Particularly detente related policies," Cohen recalled. "So now I connect these dots --and feel free to tell me I shouldn't connect these dots, that it's crazy Russianist thinking-- but all of this Russiagate stuff seems to have originated, and that's what Steele tells us, with intelligence agencies, American and foreign."
TUCKER CARLSON: News you can believe. Stephen Cohen is a Contributing Editor at "The Nation." He is a retired Professor of Russian Studies at NYU in Princeton. He is also the author of the fantastic book, "War with Russia: From Putin in Ukraine to Trump and Russiagate." Professor Cohen, thanks so much for coming on tonight.
STEPHEN COHEN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "THE NATION": Hi, Tucker.
CARLSON: So I just want to be clear about the Steele dossier. I don't want to re-litigate, you know, the years that we spent talking about this, but now that the standard in Washington is soliciting information for foreign governments is an impeachable offense, the Steele dossier, which was the basis of the Russia investigation, was that information in whole or in part from foreign governments?
COHEN: Well, by the way, the first time we met on your program was two and a half years ago when the Steele dossier was published. I think it was January 2017. And we talked about it then.
And I said to you then, this is clearly something concocted probably by Intelligence agencies around the world. And that's what it has turned out to be.
Steele's premise, which got him attention was that he got all this from sources high in the Kremlin, correct? It was supposed to be Kremlin sources. But the story didn't make any sense because the dossier said Putin wanted to elect Trump. So why then we asked ourselves, would Putin's own agents, give Steele dirt on Trump to destroy his candidacy? The whole Steele document made very little sense.
By the way, we now know that Steele was more of a composer than a writer. A lot of people contributed to it, including the wife of a very high- ranking American F.B.I. agent, Louise (sic) Ohr. She said she researched for Steele, so I assume that's what it means.
CARLSON: Pretty surprising. Pretty stunning, actually. So you've been in and around this world for many decades. Have you seen anything like this? This appears to be in part, an Intelligence operation aimed at a sitting U.S. President-- is there precedent for this historically?
COHEN: Right. So you've asked me to go someplace we can't go at length. Coming down here, I asked myself, have we ever had a presidential scandal like this in America? No, I can't think of one.
Then because I study the Soviet Union as a profession. I asked myself, did the Russian secret police, the KGB, run its own operations against Soviet leaders who pursued policies they didn't like? And the answer is yes. Particularly detente related policies.
COHEN: So now I connect dots, and feel free to tell me I shouldn't connect these dots, that it's a crazy Russianist thinking, but all of this Russia- gate stuff seems to have originated and that's what Steele tells us with intelligence agencies, American and foreign.
What we don't know is why -- and we need to know this -- they set out to destroy Trump as a candidate in 2016, and then as a President. After all, other American Presidents had pursued cooperation with Russia. What was it about Trump that determined them to destroy him?